Yvon Chouinard, founder and major owner of Patagonia, has announced the establishment a new holding company to invest in companies in five critical areas – clothing, food, water, energy and waste – in ways that will share the same ethical approach to the environment and the same mission statement as Patagonia, using “business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

The new company, called Patagonia Works, will be supported by a “$20 Million and Change Fund” for investment in start-ups. It will take the place of Patagonia's former holding company, Lost Arrow Corporation, and will be led by Rose Macario, a woman who has been able to triple Patagonia's profits in the last five years as chief operating and financial officer. Casey Shehan will continue in the role of president and chief executive of Patagonia.

Credited by Chouinard with business acumen and a keen sense of social and environmental responsibility, Macario recently launched Patagonia Provision, which has tackled the issue of responsible food production with a project involving local tribes in catching wild salmon in their natal waters. The project is going to be expanded to other types of food (more in The Outdoor Industry Compass).